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'Moonlight' Star Mahershala Ali Confirmed As Lead For 'True Detective' Season 3

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He's got a case to solve. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
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Actor Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar for his work on last year's Moonlight, will star in a possible third season for True Detective. We say "possible" because the season hasn't gotten the green light just yet: as noted at Deadline, scripts have been penned for some of the episodes, but the show is still looking for a director, and hasn't been signed off on.

But back to Ali! The news of his (possible) participation was revealed by Casey Bloys, president of programming at HBO, at Wednesday's Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, according to Entertainment Weekly. “I have read five scripts for a third season,” Bloys said. “I’m very very impressed and excited about what I’ve read. I don’t want to give away the storyline, but I really think they’re terrific.”

As noted by Entertainment Weekly, series creator Nic Pizzolatto has written some of the episodes, and David Milch (responsible for NYPD Blue and Deadwood) was brought into the fold as well.

Ali seems pretty psyched, as evidenced by an Instagram post on Wednesday:

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The announcement has re-ignited a lot of hatred for the much-maligned Season 2. "[If] there was anyone up to the task of making “True Detective” good again, it’s [Ali]," said the Huffington Post. "It seemed that nothing could be done to get people back on the True Detective bandwagon [after Season 2]," said The Ringer, who added that Ali could be that savior.

Now, if you'll allow this author to toss in his two cents: Season 2 was better than Season 1. The first season benefited from confident directing, two leads who played their roles with blind sincerity, and a first few episodes that were thick with atmosphere. But it ultimately fell apart because the "mystery" ended up being nothing more than a MacGuffin, and the female characters were there just to move the plot along. Season 2 suffered from a bad start, bogged down by a couple episodes that rambled on about nothing in particular (Vince Vaughn's dialogue was the stuff of bad MFA writing). But the story, which involved a noir-ish L.A. and its penchant for shady real estate dealings, gave us a real caper to work with, and the women were more than just placeholders. Though, it can't be avoided that Season 2 committed the inexcusable act of presenting an L.A. that was largely devoid of Latinos (the few Latinos who did appear were gang members).

Whether or not Ali's involvement will atone for the show's past sins, time will tell. But it has certainly revived a lot of intrigue around the show. Now, the waiting game begins as the search for the next director takes place. And what about the locale, which has been the centerpiece for each season of True Detective? Season 1 took us to the humid bayous of Louisiana. Season 2 drove us down the dusty highways of Southern California. What comes next? Denver?